On Wednesday, several balloons carrying radar reflectors were shot down, Ukrainian officials told the UK.
Suspected Russian spy balloons have been increasingly spotted over Ukraine in recent days, the United Kingdom Defense Ministry said on Sunday morning in an intelligence update.
On Wednesday, several balloons carrying radar reflectors were shot down, Ukrainian officials told the UK. On Tuesday, a suspected balloon led to the closure of Moldovan airspace for several hours, which the UK believes had likely drifted from Ukrainian airspace. Last Sunday, the Ukrainian Air Force reportedly spotted balloons over eastern Dnipropetrovsk.
“It is likely that the balloons were Russian,” said the UK Defense Ministry. “They likely represent a new tactic by Russia to gain information about Ukrainian air defense systems and compel the Ukrainians to expend valuable stocks of surface-to-air missiles and ammunition.”
Ukrainian air defenses have had to contend with heavy bombardments by cruise missiles and Iranian-made kamikaze drones in recent months.
Chinese spy balloons have flown over US
Reports of Russia using spy balloons come after an alleged high-altitude Chinese spy balloon was shot down by an F-22 Raptor jet fighter on February 4. The balloon had floated across much of continental United States.
The balloon incident has led to increased tensions between the United States and China. Beijing has said that the US has overreacted to the incident.
On Saturday, Reuters reported that US Secretary of State Antony Blinken had warned a top Chinese diplomat of the consequences should China provide support to Russia in its military campaign against Ukraine.
Blinken said that the US was concerned that China was considering supplying weapons to the Kremlin.